You'll find visiting Flagstaff that you'll be surrounded by mountains, desert and ponderosa pines and known for its San Francisco Peaks, Humphreys Peak (Arizona's tallest mountain at 12,633 feet in elevation) and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort. Those are the more popular aspects of Flagstaff but we found this gem of a hike within the Coconino National Forest – Red Mountain Trail (GPS).
Although, a great side trip when traveling between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, we simply were coming from our RV park – Woody Mountain Campground which made the trail 34 miles away to the Red Mountain Trail. Get your Google Maps directions here.
With a 9:00AM start, it was a lovely 70°F-75°F sunny morning. Sunscreen up! Bring a hat and/or umbrella to provide even more sun protection like I do for this ~2.7 miles roundtrip hike.
We had more of a stroll by parking the Mini Cooper on the outskirts... about 0.25 mile at the beginning of the dirt road that leads to the designated & limited parking space at the trailhead. Ended up being a 3.5 mile roundtrip hike for us.
You'll be hiking into the inside of the volcanic cinder cone, the mountain itself and to its famous cinnamon-colored amphitheater.
NOTE: There are NO facilities at the trailhead or on this hike. It is a long way to the nearest gas station.
"According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Red Mountain is one of several hundred cinder cones within a large volcanic field that stretches from Williams to the canyon of the Little Colorado River. The centerpiece of this hike is Red Mountain, which erupted about 740,000 years ago. What’s unusual about Red Mountain, which rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape, is that its internal structure is exposed — like a massive geode that’s been cracked in half. This one-of-a-kind trail takes you into that core, an area known as the amphitheater. The last half-mile of the hike follows a normally dry stream bed. If you look down at the sand, you’ll see thousands, even millions, of black shiny granules, some of which are as big as golf balls. These granules are often mistaken for “Apache tears,” which are composed of obsidian, the volcanic glass that was highly valued by ancient cultures for crafting arrowheads, knives, scrapers and other tools. But don’t be fooled. What you’re actually seeing are the crystals of minerals (pyroxene and amphibole) eroded from the volcano." –Arizona Highways
Walking through a piñon-juniper pine forest.
Hiking up to higher ground.
Surrounded by the hoodoos.
Slot canyon and hoodoo scrambling.
Around the amphitheater:
And my favorite shot of the day: